I am not used to hard labour, but it doesn’t mean I don’t remember this feeling. This post-work, tingly arms, hobbling around like an old lady muscle ache. There is no in-between with my Dad. You go hard or you don’t bother.
There have been a few projects now, and the after is still the same. Building a dingo enclosure in the scorching summer and lying on the cool floor recovering from a wasp attack with a half frozen tin of tuna pressed to the sting. Dismantling a gazebo in a suburb of Sydney I have never been before or since. Constructing a massive shade structure out the back door, running out to see Dad hanging 10 feet above the pavers because he decided to move the ladder while standing atop.
Today there was a lot of rock hauling – lifting, throwing, carrying, rinse and repeat. At the end of it all is the same seizing up, ease into bed, the same wondering if I really need to walk over there to get that thing. In a few days it will be gone. At the moment it is a strange badge of honour. I am glad to have done something concrete, visible. I am glad for the tangible nature of the task, the hurt that reminds me of the truth of it.
For someone with a shoe cupboard and a Zac Efron poster in her wardrobe, I didn’t start out very girly, teeny bopper. I remember a childhood of stubbed toes, bike rides and blowing my nose on my t-shirt. Sometimes now I am thankful for the return, minus the snot. In a life that is often ethereal and giggly, I am thankful for solid.
Besides, being here and being free is something I am loathe to complain about. I haven’t written about the last few weeks because I don’t know where to begin or how to finish. Mercifully, exams are over. God gets every scrap of glory for carrying me through what was an insanely busy and stressful time. I’m so flipping relieved, so abundantly grateful to have survived that I keep pinching myself, metaphorically. I play the “one week ago I was…” game. One week ago exams had just finished. Praise God.
This past week has been pretty spectacular, and it looms ever more shiny because of the juxtaposition. Things I cannot take for granted any more effervesce, spill over. Doing one thing at a time. Reading. Cooking. Singing. Long walks. Laughing easily and often. Making stuff. Dreaming.
When I started college people asked after a week if I’d met lifelong friends yet. It’s a pretty intimidating question. How on earth can you know that, let alone after 7 days? But now, after 10 months, I am less bothered by it. There are people in the precious place where I spend my days and my nights who, though I didn’t know them a year ago, are the music of my tomorrows. This too is Gods kindness, so abundant to me.
And so this first post-first year week has been a kind of reverie, with memories old and new swelling up, coalescing and fizzing, to background music that sounds suspiciously like Enya. It has been a week of thanks, thanks upon thanks for this year and this life and my God who continues to amaze me with his faithfulness.
The most amazing thing is that the best is yet to come. These shiny glimpses of beautiful point to the one who gives every good gift, who gave his son so that I can have life. The cross of Jesus, the old old story, continues to be the sweetest song. With every wonderful day, may I not forget to make him known. For every difficult morning, may I never fail to praise him. For the future, unknown, wonderful and terrifying, may I trust him ever.
And so I am sore on the outside but my inside is new again. It is a wake up smiling to the sound of birdsong within and without kind of feeling. It is a praise God from whom all blessings flow skip in the warm grass. It is the first swim in a pool after a lifetime of waiting, and swanning around in a towel skirt eating olives out of the jar kind of happiness. It is the thankful sigh before sleep of a rested heart.
“All the way my Saviour leads me…”